Retail regulation proposals welcomed – ‘but more transparency needed’

Moves by the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, to bring an end to Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) among retail in the food supply chain have been welcomed by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

Organisation president Patrick Kent said: “ICSA has been lobbying extensively for this, both at home and in Europe.

“The commissioner’s proposed directive provides a unique opportunity to improve the functioning of the food chain supply to make it fairer by strengthening the bargaining power of small suppliers.”

UTPs set to be outlawed under Commissioner Hogan’s directive includes late payments for perishable food products, last-minute order cancellations, unilateral or retroactive changes to contracts and forcing the supplier to pay for wasted product.

Kent lauded this move, saying: “This is a very important step on the road in curtailing the greedy practices and excessive profiteering at retail level.

“However, we need to follow this with legislation to audit the whole retail chain and discern whether there is a fair share of margins allocated to all parts of the chain.

We now need to push for more transparency around how the profits from key products like beef, lamb and dairy are shared.

“For too long retailers have been making huge profits at the expense of primary producers so identifying exactly who gets what profits in the entire food supply chain is essential. I would like to reassure our members that ICSA will be at the forefront of this process to ensure farmers are treated more fairly,” Kent concluded.